Ride the Rock Cycle – Comic Strip Adventure

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Materials:

  • Rock Cycle Comic Strip Lesson Plan (link – pdf) or ScienceSpot.net or NSTA
    • Note there is a typo with the numbering on the handout – it should be numbered 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 in case you want to make corrections prior to photocopying it
  • Laminated Station Cards
    • Stations as Google Slides – public
    • Rock Cycle Comic Stations (pdf)
    • For 2016-2017 I updated some of the stations to have more variety in the outcomes and introduce some higher level concepts for my 6th graders to lead into our unit on Plate Tectonics
  • Dice: 2-4 at each station
  • Pencils
  • Colored Pencils

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Tips for running the lesson:

  • Use this lesson after introducing the Rock Cycle to students.
  • Having 2-4 dice at each location allows multiple students to be at each station at the same time. In the past when I used the paper dice that come with the lesson, it took time for each student to write down the outcome from the dice. Having the outcomes on the station cards helps speed things up.
  • Set up stations around the room, depending on the number of students you have, you can make multiple stations for each one.
    • For example, for the Soil Station or the Earth’s Crust & Interior Station, you can have more than one of each to spread students out around the room. They get a lot of traffic.
  • If students get ‘stuck’ at a station, explain that they can be stuck in the Earth’s Interior for millions of years and their whole comic would be just that one station, but allow them to ‘roll out’ of a station if they are there for a 3rd time.
    • For example – A student will end up at the Soil Station and roll “Sediments Being Formed Remain Here” and write that on their handout. Then they will roll “Sediments Being Formed Remain Here” again, and write it down. If on the 3rd turn they roll “Rocks Break Down, Remain Here” have them roll again until they get something different. They may then get “Flooding Occurs, Go to River” and write that down and go to the River Station. They may end up back at the Soil Station on a later turn, but that is OK. They will visit some stations more than others.
  • Once students are done with their journey, check over their work and then have them start their comic strip. They might need some tips on how to draw certain geological processes.
  • I have used this lesson for many years and the students really enjoy making their comics and come away with a better understanding of how rocks change over time.

Making Molecular Models Activity

If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.
If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.

Materials:

  • Molecular Model Kits – 1 kit per group of 4 students
  • Student Handout – updated for 2015 (pdf)
  • Formula cards (pdf) – print, cut apart, laminate
    • 1 set per group of 4 students
  • colored pencils
  • periodic table

Procedure:

For this activity, students will practice reading formulas, counting atoms, building molecules, and identifying bond types. This activity can be used in several different ways.

Stations

Different stations can be set up around the classroom with 2-4 formulas per stations. Each station will have enough supplies to create the models indicated. Students will complete one station at a time, have their work spot checked for completion, and then proceed to an open station. Making duplicate stations helps prevent bottle necking at the stations that take longer to complete.

You can either do timed rotations or have students move freely when they are done. Some stations will be more difficult than others and extra time will be needed for students to complete those models. I like to have several “Make your Own” stations around the room to facilitate movement and give the students more time to explore model making.

Lab groups

Instead of stations, each lab group will have a complete set of formula cards and a molecular model kit. 4 students will share the materials and students can work with a partner or individually. The models can be completed in any order, this helps free up the materials so that not all students are waiting to use the Carbon or Sodium atoms.

Matching Game

If there are students who finish early, they can check their answers by matching the model images with the formulas using the answer cards (see below). Or they can create games with a partner using the cards.

Samples of Formula Cards and Answers

Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.
Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.

Free Task Card Templates provided by: Rebecca Bishop at TPT (link) ~ thank you!

Answers:

  • Some of the molecules have both Ionic and Covalent bonds and are indicated on the cards
  • One molecule has a double bond – CO2
  • One molecule has a triple bond – N2
  • Metals are: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium
  • Non-Metals are: Hydrogen, Chlorine, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen

Be sure to see my Chemistry page (link) for more lessons related to atoms and bonding.

Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

Research & Note taking
Rock Identification: Research and note taking

Materials:

  • At least 4 samples for each of the following 12 rocks:
    • Igneous Rocks: Pumice, Obsidian, Basalt, & Granite
    • Sedimentary Rocks: Sandstone, Limestone, Conglomerate, & Coal
    • Metamorphic Rocks: Slate, Gneiss, Hornfels, & Marble
  • Rocks, Gems, and Minerals Guide – classroom set
  • Handouts for note-taking
  • Flashcards – print out and glue onto index cards (pdf)
    • each student made their own set to keep
  • Index cards with rock IDs on them
    • 1 set per lab table
  • Paper plates
    • 12 plates with rock IDs
    • additional plates: 1 set per table if not using index cards

rocks_id_2

Students will learn to identify & categorize 12 common rocks samples during this multi-day lesson. To introduce the unit, students are given the foundation of how rocks form and the three types of rocks: Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary.

rocks_id_3

Working with a partner and/or in small groups, they will research, handle, and compare the rock specimens and take careful notes at the different stations. Once their research is done, they will practice identifying the rock samples by creating and teaching each other different games using the rocks samples.

rocks_plate_id_game

Some games the students played are:

  • Sort the rocks into 3 piles: I, S, or M, who can do it the fastest?
  • Rock races
    • 2 students are given 6 rocks each to find and sort from the pile of 12
    • can you find it? Name a rock and pick it from the pile
  • Match the rock samples to the name of the rock
  • Mis-match some of the rocks with their ID cards, can you figure out which ones are incorrect?
  • Rock Quiz – creating questions from the index cards
    • examples:
      • Which rock is the only intrusive igneous rock?
      • Which rock floats on water?
      • Which one used to be limestone?

rocks_id_indexcards_2

For more lessons related to Rocks & Minerals, be sure to visit my Earth Science Page (link).

rocks_id_indexcards_1

Blood Types Flashcards & Games

I used this hands-on activity as a review/reinforcement with my 7th graders and it really helped them understand the different blood types, about blood donation, and basic Punnett Squares. Plus they had fun playing the games and making up their own games.

Materials:

  • One set of laminated flashcards (pdf) per person, or two sets shared in a group of 4 students
  • pencil and lined paper to make Punnett Squares

All of the instructions and different games to play are explained in the handout. Some examples are: Who can donate? Punnett Square Practice, Identification, Memory, and Matching.

Other ways to use the cards:

  • Flashcards –  Students can print their own at home and use them to study
  • You can set up a station/rotation to play the games as they are, or as ‘make your own’ game stations. Or a combination of both. Place one game at each station and have the students rotate every 7-10 minutes (see below for logistics)
  • Rotation Directions – students will rotate from table to table and learn to play the game at each station
    • Need a group of 4 students at each station.
    • When it is time to rotate, only 2 go to the next station, and 2 stay.
    • The 2 that stay are the experts on that game.
    • The 2 experts teach the 2 novices how to play when they rotate to the table.
    • When it is time to rotate, the 2 experts who stayed go to the next group, and the novices are now the experts and teach the 2 new novices that came to the station.
  • Quiz-Quiz Trade
    • give each student a RBC card and have them identify it, then trade
    • give each student a blood-type card and ask for the genotype (ie AA or AO)
    • Or mix both decks and play both games
  • Find your Partner
    • give half or your class Blood Type Cards and the other half of the class RBC cards and have them find the matching set

Interactive Links for further practice

  • Blood Typing Game – can you make the right choice? (link)
  • Are you my blood type? can you find the donor? (link)
  • Emergency Room – figure out the blood type and correct transfusion (link)
  • NatGeo – interactive heart (link)
  • BrainPOP:  Blood & Blood Pressure

If you use this lesson in your classroom, I am always happy to hear how it went!

For related lesson plans, please visit my Life Science page.